Tragedy strikes local family again

Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 4:05 pm

STAFF WRITER

andrea agardy

 

Tragedy has hit a local family for the second time in as many years.

Kelly Elizabeth Hale Sharpton, of Tullahoma, died Friday, Nov. 8, at Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga. She was 47 years old.

Messages left for the Chattanooga Police Department seeking additional information on Kelly Sharpton’s death were not returned by press time.

Kelly Sharpton was the mother of Megan Sharpton, whose burned body was found July 2, 2012, at Awalt Road in Franklin County.

In February, Donnie Jones Jr. pleaded guilty to raping and murdering Megan, a 24-year-old Tullahoma nursing student and was sentenced to life in state prison without parole.

In an interview with The News last fall, prior to Jones’ arrest and conviction, Kelly Sharpton said she understood the public’s frustration with the amount of time it took law enforcement authorities to arrest Jones, but said she was confident the case was being handled properly.

Kelly Sharpton of Tullahoma, the mother of murder victim Megan Sharpton, meets with reporters outside the Coffee County Justice Center in Manchester in October 2012.

Kelly Sharpton of Tullahoma, the mother of murder victim Megan Sharpton, meets with reporters outside the Coffee County Justice Center in Manchester in October 2012.

“I understand the community’s anger, but they have a different perspective,” she said. “…I can’t thank Franklin County Sheriff Tim Fuller and Investigator Todd Hindman enough. They’ve been very supportive. It’s almost like they knew Megan. They don’t call it ‘the case,’ they call her Megan…

“It may sound strange, but justice isn’t mine to deliver,” she said. “My life won’t be spent on what should happen to him [Jones]. I’m not gonna get caught up in what happens to him. It won’t make up for what I’ve lost. As long as the community is safe, I’m satisfied. Justice will come one way or the other… Peace will come when there’s resolution and I’m waiting on that peace.”

On a Saturday in late March, Kelly Sharpton was joined by friends and family members at the site where Megan’s body was discovered to dedicate a memorial in her daughter’s honor.

Bob Clemens, of Moore County, designed the memorial, which stands more than 7 feet tall with 24 metal stars that gleam in the sunlight — one for each year of Megan’s life.

“Megan was that kind of kid,” Kelly Sharpton said at the time. “In motion, always alive, always vibrant.”

Kelly Sharpton did not want her daughter to be remembered as that “burned girl found on the side of the road.” So she wrote the message “Megan is her name” on a rock at the site.

Kelly Sharpton was born in Milan to Maurice and Margaret Stepp Hale. She worked as a graphic designer at AEDC.

She is survived by her parents, Maurice and Margaret Hale of Tullahoma; her children, Carrie (Michael) Taylor, of Huntsville, and Alex and Will Sharpton, of Tullahoma; her fiancé, Don Cornelius, of Tullahoma; a sister, Anne S. Hale and her companion Laurie Weeks, of Albuquerque, N.M.; a brother, David G. (Kelsey Vaughn) Hale, of Seattle; her grandchildren, Chloé Taylor, Sophia Shelley and Gavin and Garrett Taylor; and aunts Brenda (Orville) Glenn, Jane Sherborne, Melissa Birdsong and Susan Harrell.

Tullahoma Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be left for the family at www.tullahomafuneralhome.com.

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